Relationship guides aren’t in short supply. From Instagram pages dedicated to relationship advice to countless columns, TV shows, radio shows and book, everyone has something to say about how to get into a relationship and stay in one. It can get overwhelming We’ve become so used to ’10 rules to make your marriage work’ and ‘5 steps for a happy relationship’ that one of the most important foundations for a healthy, happy relationship is forgotten: Good Intentions.
It’s the reason why prenuptial agreements exist. It is the reason why phone trackers are so popular. Even outside of relationships. It’s the reason why there is a culture of ‘watching your back’ and distrust are so prominent in relationships. Many people enter relationships (business, romantic, platonic etc) without good intentions. One very powerful scene from a movie I saw a few years ago comes to mind. This ‘good girl’ was getting married and the day before her wedding, she kneels down in her room and prays. Essentially she makes a vow to God to do no evil to her husband-to-be during her marriage. A lot happens after this scene, but the scene stands out. The man she was marrying wouldn’t have any need to watch his back around her all the time (he could, but it would be unnecessary). She had gone into the marriage with good intentions. No ulterior motives, no sinister endgame, no selfish subplot. Nothing.
Too often we are faced with a situation where one partner goes into a relationship with the purest of intentions and the resolve to be honest and straightforward. The other partner either has either impure intentions or is lax about it.
On an internet relationship forum, the question was posted on ‘People who have been happily married for over 20 years, how do you do it?’ A lot of answers were given but this one stood out for me: the user married his wife after 3 weeks of meeting. The eloped and get married on a whim. Someone replied to his question and asked him if he had any last-minute doubts. He responded and said that he knew it would work because he was marrying her ‘because he had the burning desire to make her happy’ and believed that she had the same burning desire. He went on to say that despite their early struggles, they’ve always been happy and kept at it because their ultimate goal was to make the other happy. Therein lies the second problem. Even when one half of couple goes into a relationship without bad intentions, they sometimes go in with the intention of making themselves happy and not the other person.
A relationship where both people are hopelessly dedicated to making the other person happy would be balanced, respectful and happy. Good intentions aren’t’ the only thing needed to make a happy relationship, but they are a good place to start from.